Meyer Memorial Trust Awards NCNM $198,000 for New Research Facility

PORTLAND, Ore. (Aug. 27, 2012) — National College of Natural Medicine announced today that it recently received a grant of $198,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust to support the medical college’s new integrative medicine research facility. The NCNM Helfgott Research Institute and Community Education Center will celebrate its official grand opening October 5.

The 8,390-square-foot research facility is located one-half mile north of NCNM’s Lair Hill campus. The facility, designed by Henneberry Eddy Architects Inc. and built by R&H Construction, cost approximately $1.5 million to renovate.

NCNM President, David J. Schleich, PhD, said that NCNM’s rapid growth in recent years is a response to the urgent need for a stronger preventive, primary-care model and consumer demand for natural health care options. At the same time, the college sees a need to increase the amount and depth of its evidence-based medical education and research.

Schleich noted, “In 2011 we launched the pilot program of NCNM’s accredited Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research, the only one of its kind in North America. Grounded as it is in over a century of natural medicine clinical care, the innovative program provides our students the opportunity to do hands-on, clinical CAM research that can address intransigent medical, social, environmental or global concerns.”

Enrollment in the pilot program exceeded the original five-year goal, Schleich said, but at the same time, NCNM’s research facility and resources were inadequate to meet student demand.

The site of the new research institute is the former NCNM Natural Health Center, located on First Avenue. The college closed the clinic in 2009 when its naturopathic and Chinese medicine clinics were consolidated within the NCNM Clinic, located on the college campus.

In addition to the Helfgott Research Institute, the new facility features “Charlee’s Kitchen,” an instructional kitchen funded by Bob and Charlee Moore, the founders of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. The center will focus on healthy whole foods and meal preparation, and nutrition research. The state-of-the-art teaching kitchen and classroom features cooking stations and 42-inch mounted television monitors. “The teaching kitchen is a perfect setting for our naturopathic doctors, who are the nation’s primary care experts in nutrition,” Schleich emphasized.

The Moores—renowned nutritional advocates—have donated $1.65 million to the school since 2010. Approximately $700,000 of the Moore gift was dedicated to building the new research and community education facility. The Moore gift also helped fund the ECO Project (Ending Childhood Obesity, a series of free community nutrition and cooking workshops), and student scholarships. Charlee’s Kitchen will be used for ECO Project community workshops and for student research.

Besides the Meyer Memorial Trust grant and the Moore family donations, NCNM also received two $100,000 bequests for capital improvements from the estates of grateful patients. The new research facility features a classroom equipped with technology for online distance learning, named in honor of the late Violet Beebe of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Additionally, NCNM has named its research science laboratory after the late Marjorie A. Gage of Portland. The Biosafety Level 1 lab was built according to Center for Disease Control specifications.

The Helfgott Research Institute was established by NCNM in June 2003 with the help of a series of donations in the amount of $1.2 million from Don Helfgott, the co-founder of Inspiration Software, a leader in visual thinking and learning methodologies and technologies, based in Beaverton, Ore.

Since 2005, the Helfgott Research Institute has been awarded several National Institutes of Health research grants totaling $2,955,085, including a grant for $864,000 in 2011.The research institute’s new Master of Science degree program will be offered to its first incoming cohort of students in September 2012.

Schleich pointed out that the new integrative medicine research institute will be better able and better equipped to provide more in-depth evidence-based medical education and research dedicated to disease prevention for “students who are new to medicine, but also for many within the conventional medicine community, who are now seeing the benefits of what our practitioners do.”

He said, “We are enormously grateful to the Meyer Memorial Trust for its strong vote of confidence in NCNM, clearly demonstrated by this substantial award. Their generous support enables NCNM to continue to strengthen its roots, building a strong future for its students.”

The Meyer Memorial Trust, a private foundation based in Portland, Ore., was created in 1982 by the estate of the late Fred G. Meyer and is not connected to Fred Meyer, Inc. The foundation partners with organizations to identify and build the best approach to addressing key needs and opportunities. As of December 2011, the Meyer Memorial Trust made 6,687 awards of more than $554 million.

Founded in Portland in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America and an educational leader in classical Chinese medicine and CAM research. NCNM offers four-year graduate medical degree programs in naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, and a Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research degree. Its community clinics offer low-cost or free medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area, and, in addition to the campus-based NCNM Clinic, NCNM practitioners attend to approximately 33,000 patient visits per year. NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute conducts rigorous evidence-based research to advance the science of natural medicine and improve clinical practice. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

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